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Minister of Religious Affairs sacked by Tunisian PM

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Tunisia’s Prime Minister sacked the minister of religious affairs on Friday after he made comments on Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi brand of Islam. “Prime Minister Youssef Chahed decided to dismiss Salem Abd El Jalil, minister of religious affairs, from his duties due to the lack of respect for government work and his statements that touched principles of Tunisian diplomacy,” the premier’s office said in a statement. The North African state has become a major source of extremists fighting in Iraq, Syria and neighbouring Libya. More than 3,000 Tunisians are believed to be involved and critics say foreign imam recruiters are partly to blame. Meanwhile, Income from Tunisia’s tourism sector, hard-hit by extremist attacks, fell eight per cent in the first nine months of 2016 compared with the same period last year, according to official figures. From January 1 to September 31, tourism firms took 1.8 billion dinars ($811 million, 730 million euros), against 1.97 billion the previous year, a fall of 8.4 per cent, according to data published on the tourism ministry’s website. That is a drop of 34 per cent on the first nine months of 2014, before two extremist attacks that spelled disaster for the sector.

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